In 2018, we sent open records requests to districts in our area. After our initial report, we received an email from West Washington School Corporation Superintendent Keith Nance who told us they purchased digital radon readers with a plan to continually test the building.
In 2019, we checked with the district again to see if it is doing anything differently. The district told the digital radon readers were about $200 and the head of maintenance was moving them around periodically measuring the levels. Superintendent Nance said in an email, "I can say with confidence that it has never been near 4, and has always been below."
INFORMATION FROM THE EXPERTS:
Indiana schools are not required to test for radon but being exposed to the average levels in Washington County (4.0 pCi/L) is be equivalent to smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day, according to the EPA.
Approximately 21,000 Americans die annually from radon-induced lung cancer, including people who have quit smoking or never smoked.
The EPA recommended action level is at 4 pCi/L, while the World Health Organization recommends action at 2.7 pCi/L. Both organizations are clear, no level of radon exposure is safe, especially long-term.
Changes in the building and environment could cause changes in radon exposure levels, therefore the EPA recommends retesting every building at least every other year to make sure levels do not reach dangerous levels.
The only way to know if levels of radon gas are dangerous is to test and retest.
- Find a test kit.
- Indiana Radon Map from the EPA
- State resources and information from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management
This is part of a WHAS11 investigation into radon exposure in schools. Read the full 2018 report.